Are You Rewarding Extroverts and Ignoring Introverts?

ICOG - 02-Sep-2021

Bill Gates is the epitome of intelligence and a quiet person by nature. Bill Gates has no problem speaking to thousands of people at once but identifies as an introvert. Barbra Streisand, on the other hand, is charismatic and outgoing but struggles with stage fright.

How do we define introversion and extroversion then? A better way to differentiate the two personalities is by how they process stimuli and manage their energy. Introverts get recharged in solitude and extroverts by spending time with others.

Nikola Tesla, a brilliant inventor, engineer, and introvert, explains: “Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone-that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

Also, it’s the right moment to clarify that there are no pure introverts or extroverts. We are all a unique mix. We all have something to bring to the table.

However, when it comes to managing talent in your organization, there are a few myths that need dispelling when it comes to the role of introverts in leadership positions and, in general, as contributors.

Introverts in Leadership Positions

According to Adam Grant’s research at Wharton, 96% of leaders and managers agree with being extroverted. And in a related poll, 65% of senior executives said it was a liability for leaders to be introverted, with only 6% seeing introversion as an advantage.

According to a survey in Industrial Psychiatry, the general population is split 50/50 between introverts and extroverts. However, as soon as we take the first step up to the level of supervisor in organizations, extroverts take up 88 percent of the seats, and it only gets worse from there. By the time we get to senior executives, introverts occupy only 2 percent of the seats.

Extroverts are more prone to be attracted to and chosen for leadership roles, but are they better leaders than introverts?

Are Introverts Better Leaders Than Extroverts?

Adam Grant’s research found that extroverts and introverts were equally successful at leading teams but excelled at managing different kinds of employees. When employees were looking for direction from their leader, teams with extroverted leaders brought in 16 percent more profits.

However, when employees were proactive in suggesting solutions and improving processes, an extroverted leader roped in 14 percent lower profits.

Isn’t this the typical case of matchmaking? Extroverts brought out the best in teams that were otherwise passive and introverts successfully led teams that were proactive.

As a leader of an organization, it’s your job to ensure all your employees function within their zones of genius- meaning they are able to contribute and lead with their strengths and are appreciated for what they bring to the table.

Managing Team Diversity- Laying the Groundwork

“Introversion and extroversion go to the heart of who a person is: how they work, how they live, and how they interact., according to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. 

Here are a few steps to laying the groundwork for creating space for diversity along with introversion and extroversion in your organization.

Educate yourself - Understand how each member in your team prefers to work and progress through their days. Extroverts multi-task, make rash decisions and aren’t afraid to speak up in a group, more generally speaking. In contrast, introverts work more deliberately and stick to a task until they finish it off. 

Talk to your team - Some introverts have learned to ‘fake it till you make it’ so they might appear like an extrovert, but they will crash on their couch as soon as they reach home, exhausted from all the talking and being. A great way to identify team members is by having open and honest communication about personality types and how they affect performance.

Rethink productivity - Does the definition of productivity favor extroverts in your organization? If your organization is fueled by back-to-back meetings, you may need to shift a few things here to support introverts. One of the ways to do this is to restrict the time each employee has to be in meetings each day. It’s important to recognize that extroverts may want to think out loud at meetings, while introverts may want to ideate at a coffee shop and email their ideas later.

Promote privacy - Open office plans can seem like they were built for extroverts. But research suggests that all of us need private space to get things done. Think about the small design changes you can make to the workplace to make it more inclusive for introverts and deep thinkers.

Use Data to Find your Top Talent for Promotions

If your managers rely on employees talking them up or other inherently biased ways to make decisions about promotions and other opportunities, you need a modern method to bring in more transparency.

An employee’s learning path is a great indicator of how ready a person is to take on a better role or more responsibility. With a learning platform that shows analytics related to a person’s career path and how they have been progressing through it, you can take a glance and find out your top performers.

Such capabilities exist within ICOG- a personalized learning platform with award-winning analytics that gives you an overall picture of an individual’s strengths, aspirations and capabilities, without you talking to them about it.

In-depth analytics not only exclude the need for assessments but also capture the learning potential of a person and cut down office politics that hinders organizational growth and favors one personality type over another.

By recognizing top talent in your organization through transparent, unbiased mechanisms, you can make sure that diversity is respected and encouraged - be it in any form.


With the right LXP, managers can see through the talking and find out who the top performers are based on their competencies and learning alone- making the process of rewarding and recognition more objective.

Email us for a personalized demo at today.


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